We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre
Open today: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Save
Review Highlights
FANTASTIC LOCATION

Wonderful place to walk and the wetlands are a must - a little slice of peace ! Great cafe with... read more

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Debbie G
,
Bedford, United Kingdom
The Forest of Marson Vale and Sailing Centre on the Lake

We went there rather late in the afternoon so could not enjoy it the full; the forest is... read more

Reviewed September 26, 2018
ewa_kot
,
Papworth, Cambs CB23 3NZ
Read all 465 reviews
  
Reviews (465)
Filter reviews
465 results
Traveler rating
216
183
44
13
9
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageAll languages
216
183
44
13
9
Show reviews that mention
All reviews bike ride play area lovely place nature reserve fresh air nice cafe cakes coffee and cake whole family nice walk toilet facilities large lake free parking round the lake country park marston vale wetland area
Filter
Updating list...
1 - 10 of 465 reviews
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Wonderful place to walk and the wetlands are a must - a little slice of peace !
Great cafe with tasty,reasonably priced snacks and meals.
On our doorstep - we are extremely lucky.

Thank Debbie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2018 via mobile

And here we go another place that was enjoyable to visit but they put you off by charging parking charges. From £1 per hr as i recall. Shame their business model didn't allow for the fact that people needed to get there. Most people take their car to get there. Plenty of other walks at Priory Marina and Harrold and Odell Country Park that don't charge. Think about it , with the price of petrol you've already paid the government quite a bit of tax to get there anyway.

1  Thank C B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2018

Hello CB,

We are a small charity and don't receive government or council funding to create and maintain our woodlands.

We resisted the introduction of parking charges for many years but unfortunately in common with all organisations we have to raise enough each year to cover our costs and deliver our charitable aims. We initially operated a donation system which was in place for over a year but sadly only around 5% of visitors supported this and so we have had to move to formal charging via an external contractor.

We set our charges at a fair level £1 for an hour, £2 for up to 3 hours and £3 all day. For those visitors who come regularly, our Friends scheme is a great option as it includes free parking, entrance to our Wetlands Reserve and a 10% discount in our shop for only £5 per month.

I understand that additional charges are never popular but hope you will understand that they are necessary if we are to continue to maintain our offer to our visitors. I do hope you will continue to visit and support the park which you clearly enjoy.

Grant

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2018

All I can say is, don't bother walking around the big lake. Most of the time you won't see it, and mostly you can't get near it without scrambling down a steep bank. Maybe in the winter with no leaves on the trees you might get better views. When you get to the marina you won't be able to get in unless you are a member, so the clear view over the lake there will be through a robust steel fence. The Centre building is quite nice, and so is the garden area near it.
I suppose at least it is an improvement on the huge deep claypit, which I remember seeing long ago.

Thank Colin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Thanks for your feedback.

We are a small charity, creating and maintaining the Forest of Marston Vale and we're very proud of all we've achieved so far. We've planted 1.5 million trees and now have 11 sites which are accessible to the public free of charge.

In addition to the surfaced, multi-user tracks there are a number of footpaths and bridleways to explore, as well as viewing points around the lake and some areas where you can stop to take a break or enjoy a picnic. Our Wetlands Trail (paid access) offers the chance to explore a more tranquil environment and includes access to the 3 hides overlooking some spectacular habitat. Whenever the Forest Centre is open, our Reception team are on hand to support visitors in making the most of their day and can supply maps and advice to help you find what you're looking for.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2018

We went there rather late in the afternoon so could not enjoy it the full;

the forest is beautiful for a walk. We didn't go on the lake; we don't approve of
speedboats.
There is a large cafeteria - good access for disabled people and child-friendly.

Thank ewa_kot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Thanks for your feedback.We are a small charity, creating and maintaining the Forest of Marston Vale and we're very proud of all we've achieved so far. We've planted 1.5 million trees and now have 11 sites which are accessible to the public free of charge.

Our woodlands are a fabulous resource for their local communities but like everything, they cost money to grow and look after; everything spent at the Forest Centre helps towards our goal of 5 million trees and the easiest way to support us is to use our café - thank you so much for your support.


Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2018

The forest of marston vale is a multi activity area. You can sail from the sailing centre, power boat, watch the formula 1 speedboats, go for an amazing lunch, walk or cycle or even book a conference. We have used the centre for many of these things but our absolute favourite is to go for a lovely walk with the kids and dogs and finish up atthe centre for a lunch where adults can keep cosy inside or brave the elements as kids play on the specially prepared kids playground. Dogs are more than welcome (outside) so if you have your four legged friends do wrap up warm.

Thank Sarah S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Thanks for your feedback.We are a small charity, creating and maintaining the Forest of Marston Vale and we're very proud of all we've achieved so far. We've planted 1.5 million trees and now have 11 sites which are accessible to the public free of charge.

Our woodlands are a fabulous resource for their local communities but like everything, they cost money to grow and look after; everything spent at the Forest Centre helps towards our goal of 5 million trees and the easiest way to support us is to use our café - thank you so much for your support.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2018

We parked our car at Forest of Marston Vale (FoMV) car park on 2nd July 2018, paid the parking charge in cash via the payment machine at the main building entrance and left within the allowable time limit. We subsequently received a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) from SIP (The parking management company for the Forest of Marston Vale) saying that we did not pay and that the grace period of 15 minutes had expired.

The machine/keypad that took the money only registered the last 2 digits of our car’s registration number (The payment was registered, but only the characters XH logged against the payment on the system). Following checks, the FoMV have confirmed in writing this to be a fact from the records that they can interrogate from the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) system and the time of entry and entering our car’s registration (last 2 digits are XH) matches exactly the time of our visit and the entry time SIP have on the PCN.

What we can state in all truth and confidence is that:

1. We paid for our parking with cash at the payment machine and retrieved ticket.
2. We clearly displayed ticket in the front of the car.
3. We left the site within the allowable time.

What was a lovely time meeting close friends in a nice location has now turned into a great disappointment due to this unjustified PCN.

Although the management of the FoMV have been courteous, they have not been able to prevent their parking management company from unjustifiably extracting money from innocent customers/clients. Strangely SIP cannot find the same entry proof of payment logged against a car number plate with 2 consecutive digits (XH) on their own system as can the FoMV who have clearly stated this to be a pertinent fact.

Like many others that have posted very similar complaints, sadly we too will not visit again as to do so would be to condone this parking charge practice which we were unable via many communications to the FoMV and SIP contesting this unjustified charge to bring to an amicable and honourable conclusion.

2  Thank alanoblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 10, 2018

Sorry we couldn't assist on this occasion.

The ANPR system relies on comparing a registration entered via the ticket machine with one from the entrance camera. Unfortunately as your details were entered incorrectly and you then paid the charge notice before contacting us, your only option is to deal directly with SIP.

We have been able to help a number of visitors who made genuine mistakes when purchasing their tickets and will continue to do so whenever we can.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2018 via mobile

Popped in here for a quick sandwich lunch, not been here before. Very big cafeteria with easy access for disabled people and buggy’s. Very varied menu, and very reasonably priced, family oriented toilets accessible for wheelchairs and very clean. Lots of things for the children to do, even a bike hire place. Food is served by waitress. Recommend for family’s.

Thank 295jacquelinep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Thanks for your feedback.We are a small charity, creating and maintaining the Forest of Marston Vale and we're very proud of all we've achieved so far. We've planted 1.5 million trees and now have 11 sites which are accessible to the public free of charge.

Our woodlands are a fabulous resource for their local communities but like everything, they cost money to grow and look after; everything spent at the Forest Centre helps towards our goal of 5 million trees and the easiest way to support us is to use our café - thank you so much for your support.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2018

There is a charge for parking as everywhere these days. We went there for a walk but the shortest circular walk you can take is 2.5 miles unless you pay the extra rip-off charge to access the wetland area. The outside walk is tedious and devoid of any interest or views. We won't be going again.

Thank Chris F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

We are a small charity, creating and maintaining the Forest of Marston Vale and we're very proud of all we've achieved so far. We've planted 1.5 million trees and now have 11 sites which are accessible to the public free of charge.

In addition to the surfaced, multi-user tracks there are a number of footpaths and bridleways to explore, as well as viewing points around the lake and some areas where you can stop to take a break or enjoy a picnic. Our Wetlands Trail (paid access) offers the chance to explore a more tranquil environment and includes access to the 3 hides overlooking some spectacular habitat. Whenever the Forest Centre is open, our Reception team are on hand to support visitors in making the most of their day and can supply maps and advice to help you find what you're looking for.

We also offer bike hire and host a series of events throughout the year, with full details available on our website.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2018 via mobile

Great place to visit with children young and older. Cafe is good value and offers a good selection of food. Car park has recently opted for pay & display at reasonable rates. Access to the wetland area of the park requires payment but how the management police that is vague as we inadvertently found ourselves in the wetland park and hadn't paid!

Thank ianwR740RX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Many thanks for your kind words; it's great to hear you enjoyed your visit.

Tickets for the wetlands are available from Reception and are checked by our ranger team.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2018 via mobile

Visited here today and foubd it to be a delight. Interesting menu and smart cafe with prompt and polite service.

Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestGrant, General Manager at The Forest of Marston Vale - Forest Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2018

Many thanks for your kind words; we hope to welcome you back soon.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
View more reviews